If you use customer relationship management (CRM) software, you likely understand the importance of keeping your database clean. Your CRM database acts as the brain of your entire operation. It’s where you store all your valuable customer data and what you use to inform your marketing, sales, and customer service strategies.
Sometimes, though, your database can become cluttered and disorganised. This can happen for several reasons, including inputting incorrect data, duplicates creeping in, or data entry errors.
When your CRM data becomes messy, it can start to impact your business. You might notice that your team is finding it harder to access the data they need, or your reports are inaccurate. In extreme cases, a cluttered database can even lead to lost customers.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to keep your database clean. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the data cleaning process, including what it is, why it’s important, and how to do it effectively.
What is a CRM Data Cleanup?
CRM helps your business streamline many time-consuming administrative tasks, and it does this using all the data that is stored within your database. CRM data cleaning is simply the process of identifying and removing inaccurate or old, unnecessary data from your CRM.
The goal of CRM database cleansing is to improve the quality of your data so that you can make better decisions about your business. If you’re trying to determine whether or not your CRM needs data cleansing, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are my reports and forecasts wildly inaccurate?
- Is my team struggling to find the data they need?
- Are we losing customers because of inaccurate data?
- Do I have a lot of duplicate data in my CRM?
- Have any of our customers complained about the data in our CRM?
- Do our CRM users end up wasting time working out which records are correct?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it could be time for a CRM data cleanup. It’s important to note that CRM data cleansing is not the same as data migration. Data migration is a process that involves moving your data from one CRM to another, while data cleaning only deals with the data that’s already in your CRM.
How Does Bad Data Happen?
There are a few different ways that bad data can end up in your customer database. One of the most common is simple human error.
This can happen when someone inputting and collecting data makes a mistake, such as putting the wrong phone number or email address. Errors are, of course, completely normal from time to time.
Inaccurate data can also be caused by entering data from poor sources. For example, if you’re importing data from an old database that wasn’t well-maintained, there’s a good chance that some of that data will be inaccurate.
Bad data can also be caused by a failure to remove duplicates. Having duplicate data and contact records in your CRM can make it harder to find the data you need and lead to inaccurate reports. This can happen for a number of reasons, including data entry errors, importing customer data from multiple sources, or manually inputting data multiple times.
Sometimes your CRM might contain a dirty data list, which is a list of data that’s been manually entered more than once. This can happen when someone is trying to input a lot of data at once, such as a list of leads, or when more than one team member is working on the same data.
Finally, poor data can be caused by CRM processes that don’t deliver accurate data entry. If you’re not regularly entering new data into your CRM, it will start to become outdated. This can cause problems down the line when you try to use that data to make decisions about your business.
What is the Impact of Bad CRM Data?
Dirty data is called dirty for a reason — it can have a negative impact on your business. When the data in your CRM is inaccurate or out of date, it can snowball and cause further problems down the line. Here are a few ways that low-quality data can impact your business.
Inaccurate reports & forecasting
One of the most common problems caused by bad data is inaccurate reports and forecasting. This is because your reports are only as good as the data they’re based on. If your data is inaccurate, your reports will be too. Sometimes this can lead to poor decision-making and can possibly cost your business money.
Difficulty finding data
Bad data makes it unnecessarily difficult for your team to find the information they need. If your sales and marketing team are trying to reach out to a customer and they can’t find their contact data, that’s going to lead to frustration.
Your marketing department might want to segment your customers, but they can’t because of bad marketing data, which means they can’t create targeted campaigns.
Poor customer experiences
Inaccurate data can lead to poor customer experiences. For example, if you have the wrong phone number or email address for a customer, you may not be able to inform them about changes to your product or service.
Alternatively, if you’re trying to upsell a customer and you have the wrong information about what they’ve purchased in the past, that’s going to lead to an awkward conversation.
Sometimes, if the same person is inputting multiple lead generation opportunities, this can lead to customers being contacted multiple times. This isn’t just a waste of time — it also gives customers a negative impression of your company.
Imagine your sales team is trying to close a deal with a customer, but they can’t find the contact information for the decision-maker. Or, imagine your marketing employees want to send out an email campaign, but many of their emails are bouncing.
In both of these cases, missed opportunities are the result. When bad data prevents your sales and marketing teams from taking action, you miss out on opportunities to grow your business.
Wasted time & resources
Finally, bad data can be time-consuming to work with. If your team spends a significant portion of their time trying to get the correct data, that’s time they could be spending on more productive tasks. Your CRM is a tool that is supposed to make your team’s life easier, not harder. If it’s causing more work for your staff, it’s a good sign that something is amiss.
What are the Benefits of a Clean CRM Database
Now that we’ve looked at the negative impact of bad data let’s take a look at the benefits of data cleaning.
Data cleansing can give your team a major efficiency boost. When your data is accurate and up-to-date, it becomes much easier for your team to find the information they need. They won’t be slowed down by trying to find data or having to clean up duplicates. This can lead to a significant increase in productivity for your team.
When you have access to clean data in your CRM, you can make more informed decisions about your business. You’ll be able to trust your reports and forecasting, allowing you to make decisions that help grow your business confidently.
Enhances customer experiences
Clean CRM data helps you to deliver the personalised experience your valued customers are looking for. You can segment your customers and send them targeted marketing campaigns relevant to their interests.
You can also avoid embarrassing situations like trying to sell the same product to a customer again or attempting to upsell customers who’ve already indicated that they’re not interested in certain offers.
Increases sales & ROI
When your CRM contains clean data only, it can increase sales and higher ROI. With precise data, your sales reps can close more deals, and your marketing team will be better positioned to create more effective campaigns.
You’ll also be able to avoid wasted time and resources, saving you money in the long run.
Facilitates marketing campaign accuracy
When your marketing team has accurate data, they can create targeted marketing campaigns more likely to resonate with your target audience. As such, CRM data cleaning can lead to improved results from your marketing efforts and a higher return on investment (ROI).
It will also make it easier to deploy marketing automation. This is because your marketing and sales teams will have access to the information they need so that your CRM can complete automated workflows.
Identifies more qualified leads
Data cleaning makes it easier for your sales team to perform their job well. If your sales reps can quickly identify the hottest leads, they can spend more time selling and less time prospecting. This can lead to a significant increase in sales and revenue for your business but also improved sales communication with prospects.
Provides greater insight into your business
Regular data cleaning helps you gain valuable insights into your business. With access to clean data, you can track key metrics and performance indicators to see how your business is doing. You can also look for trends in your data to identify areas that need improvement.
5 Steps for an Effective CRM Data Cleanup
Data cleaning may seem like a daunting task, but if you let bad data build-up, it may become an inevitable necessity. The good news is that you can complete your data cleaning process relatively quickly and easily by following the five steps below.
1. Identify data that needs to be cleaned
The first step is to identify which data needs to be cleaned by performing data analysis. This will vary depending on your business, but some common data points that should be checked for accuracy include names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and job titles.
You may also have leads or customers in your database that have not been active for a long period of time. It’s up to you to decide whether or not these leads are still worth pursuing. If you don’t think they are, you can remove them from your entire database or simply archive them.
2. Remove duplicates
It’s difficult to completely prevent duplicate records, which makes it a common issue in CRM databases. They can occur for a variety of reasons. This includes when leads or customers are entered into the system multiple times or when data is imported from another database that contains duplicate records.
There are a few ways you can remove duplicates from your database. One option is to use a deduplication tool, which is often built into your CRM system and can automatically identify and remove duplicate records. Another option is to review your records and delete duplicates yourself manually.
If you decide to merge duplicate records, you need to determine what data should be used in the merged contact record. For instance, you may want to keep the most recent data or the data from the original record.
3. Verify data accuracy
If you think you may have out-of-date contact data for specific leads or customers, you can try to reach out to them and update their records. However, if you can’t get in touch with them after several attempts, it may be best to remove them from your database.
4. Fill in missing data points
If you have any missing or incomplete data, such as a lead’s job title or an address, you can try to fill in these fields by doing some research. This may involve looking up the information online or contacting the lead directly.
5. Implement quality checks
To prevent incorrect data from entering your CRM database in the future, you should implement data quality checks. This can be done by using data validation rules in your CRM system or by manually reviewing new records before they are added to your database.
By following these five steps, you can perform a CRM data cleanup and ensure that your database contains accurate and up-to-date information.
6 Tips For CRM Data Cleansing
You can do a few things to make the data cleansing process easier and more effective. Here are six tips below
1. Perform data cleansing regularly
Rather than letting poor data quality accumulate over time, it’s best to perform regular cleanups and data analysis. Imagine your CRM is like a house — the more you let things pile up, the harder it becomes to keep everything clean. By performing regular data cleaning, you can minimise the amount of work needed and keep your database in good condition.
2. Use data enrichment tools
Data enrichment tools can help you to fill in missing records and improve the quality of your data. These tools can be used to fill in missing data fields automatically or to append data to records. They work by matching records in your database with records in other databases and adding that third-party data to your own records.
3. Use duplicate detection & removal tools
Your CRM may have built-in duplicate detection and removal tools that you can use to identify and prevent duplicate records. These tools match specific data fields, such as email addresses or phone numbers, and then flag duplicate data points.
If someone has entered the same data more than once, the tool can remove and merge the records while keeping the most up-to-date data.
4. Create standard practices
One of the best ways to ensure you maintain a clean data collection (and that future data is entered correctly) is to implement data management best practices, including a regular data cleansing schedule.
This includes things like creating manual data entry guidelines, performing regular data quality checks, and ensuring that only authorised users can edit data stored in your CRM. With the right systems in place, you can reduce input errors from occurring in the first place.
5. Limit the number of users who can edit CRM data
To help prevent bad data from being entered into your CRM, you can limit the number of users who are capable of inputting CRM data. This means only certain users such as administrators or data managers will be able to add, edit, or delete data. Or you can implement a policy that only users trained to enter data according to your processes have the appropriate permissions. This should minimise inconsistent data and make data scrubbing easier in the future.
6. Hire a CRM data cleansing company
If things are getting too overwhelming, you can always hire a professional CRM data cleansing company to help you clean up your database. These companies have the experience and the tools to quickly and easily clean up your CRM data. They help to ensure you have a clean database by removing duplicate data and performing professional data scrubbing on your behalf.
Keep Your Business Healthy with a Clean CRM Database
A CRM database is a valuable asset for any business. It contains important information about your customers and prospects, which can be used to improve the efforts of your marketing and sales personnel.
Maintaining a clean and accurate database will be a valuable asset that can help you grow and scale your business.
By embedding data cleansing into your regular CRM activities, you can quickly improve the quality of your data and put your business in a much better position to achieve its goals.